Health Social

The illusion of invulnerability: Why do we think we are immune to everything?

ilusión invulnerabilidad

The illusion of invulnerabilidad is a cognitive bias because of the cual distort the perception of the external threats or risks that can occur us during our lives. Our brain uses it to protect us in front of the stress that supposes a fear to a reality that see extraneous to us. Although it is a defensive barrier of our own personal welfare is a weapon of double edge but handles  of realistic way.

This cognitive bias invades us of a no realistic optimism, that converts us of unreal way in authentic Superman, when of all is known that the humans and rest of species live in an uncertainty of adversities that can do us fall in a no wished situation, as it can be a grave illness, an accident of traffic, a no wished relation or even a no wished pregnancy. Until it does not happen us to us or somebody near our brain seems not reacting, with the end that we live plácidamente without unnecessary worries and when it arrive already will plant him expensive. This has a grave problem if it does  of form generalised: the personal and social irresponsibility.

>> Article related: How the cognitive biases affect to our daily decisions.

Illusion of invulnerabilidad and coronavirus

This cognitive principle that is born in our brain like protective turns into our greater danger, especially and situations in which our thought would have to be understood of form more grupal. It is the case that  sucede right now in front of the sanitary crisis that shakes to the world by the pandemia of the coronavirus.

To the world looms it a new illness, COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 that affects to million people all over the world and that is leaving quantities that explains  by thousands of dead persons. The authorities sanitaras warn that the citizenship has to take strict measures of hygiene and sanitary security as they are the use of masks or the social distance. They do not tire  to repeat it in all the places.

>> Article related: Fear to the coronavirus: recommendations to keep the calm

However, to the society follows him costing confront to this reality that many of them see too far, because it will not have touched them live it closely. This illusion of invulnerabilidad in front of an invisible virus creates a false feeling of security that does to go down the policeman and commit grave acts of irresponsibility.

To you it will not happen you until it happen you.

When feel invulnerables is an act of irresponsibility

Personal irresponsibility, but especially social. We are egoistas by nature, first we and afterwards the other, and costs us understand that if we save us we can save to the other and at the same time to us same, because what right now does not touch you to you can arrive of rebound, cual effect  butterfly: I am infected without symptoms; I transmit the virus to a person that to his time transmits it to him to another; this another goes back to have contact with me and transmits me more load viral that attains that now yes begin to notice the symptoms and no only this, but to all my gathered and beings wanted.

This social irresponsibility is similar to the lived in relation to the transmission of the HIV that the illness of the SIDA. During years needed  make a deep awareness in the society on the problem and campaigns of propaganda to do understand the important that was the social responsibility to avoid the propagation of the virus and that to day of today keeps on being necessary.

This false perception of control on our life created an illusion of invulnerabilidad especially in the youth. The data revealed of the study Illusion of invulnerabilidad, stereotypes and perception of control of the SIDA in university published in the Magazine Iberoamericana of Psychology and Health in 2015, could serve of example for the case of the transmission of the COVID-19. In the case of the SIDA promoted  the use of condoms, now the use of mask.

Car-justify does not serve to stop to the COVID-19

The invulnerabilidad serves us to keep a state of inner calm and a state of high personal motivation so that possible risks do not paralyse us in our day in day out, but can not  carry to the extremes and racionalizarlo of efficient way. This is derived also of the bias of confirmation that does reference to that try always justify our thoughts somehow.

For example, saying that if the use of mask can be even worse for the respiratory tracts, that if it knows  people that had the illness and did not transmit it to familiar, etc. Tend to car-justify our acts to do them rational to our way. Therefore it is so important also the good emotional education in these appearances to generate a more empathic society.

Superman also carries mask

Put you the mask, respects the social distance. Only they are two norms, that expect begin  to internalise of natural way to stop an illness that will be present in our society during a long period of time and warn the turn to the confinement. You also can save lives.



Rojas-Murcia, C., Pastor, And., Esteban-Hernández, J. (2015). Illusion of invulnerability, stereotypes and perception of control to AIDS in undergraduate students. Magazine Iberoamericana of Psicoogía and Health, 6(1), ppp 28-38


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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